Family ties revisited: Evidence from the Italian survey on family and social subjects

Number: 152
Year: 2022
Author(s): Giorgio Piccitto, Arnstein Aassve, Letizia Mencarini

This study provides a review of the concept of family ties. It then measures family ties in an unprecedentedly all-encompassing way, accounting for the individual 
eterogeneity (by context, gender, education and age) that may affect them, looking at the patterns of variation among the different dimensions. Indeed, a large number of indicators have been used in the literature to measure family ties, but the inter-relation among their dimensions has rarely been explicitly taken into account. Furthermore, family ties have been assumed to be invariant among different individuals, without any formal test of this assumption. The analysis is based on Italian National Statistical Office (ISTAT) survey on family and social subjects (FFS 2016) on 24,753 individuals. A Structural Equation Model (SEM) is used to measure the different family tie dimensions and to test their invariance by individual characteristics. The results bring out seven dimensions of family ties. These dimensions are invariant by context and gender, but not by education and age. These findings offer a clear picture of the concept of family ties and show how this concept is differently perceived on the basis of some ascribed and some acquired personal characteristics.

Giorgio Piccitto, Bocconi University

Arnstein Aassve, Bocconi University

Letizia Mencarini, Bocconi University


Language: English

Keywords: family ties, inter-generational relations, education, gender